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Property Purchase Process in Spain

If you are planning to buy a property in Spain, we recommend that you take the following steps in order to ensure that your purchase is safe and secure, conferring good title that you may sell again in the future or transfer to your loved ones without any hitches:

    1. Contact a lawyer in the area you wish to invest in a property. This is not stated idly, in an effort to line lawyers’ pockets, but is meant for those purchases who would be swayed by an institutional vendor, for example, a bank selling repossessed property, that a lawyer is unnecessary as they are experienced in conveyances, and ‘if there was any problem, they would be aware of it already, and bring it to the purchaser’s attention’.Ultimately, you the purchaser are on one side of the bargain, and the bank/financial institution is on the other. You simply must ensure that you have an independent lawyer to protect your interests. There are many, many subtle imperfections to a property title that can convert an otherwise attractive proposition to a devastating loss. See also buying repossessed properties in Spain.
      1. Research the area you want to buy in. It may be that the area has had endemic planning permission problems, possible even the result of past political corruption (not unknown in Spain!). This could affect an entire urbanisation, so speak to locals and check independently on the internet. While any good, independent lawyer will be able to avoid any drastic errors before you pay over money to the vendor, this may well save time and undue effort.
    2. Obtain a NIF and open a bank account. Even if you haven’t yet found the property that you are interested in, as you are eventually going to need a local fiscal number (Número de Identificación Fiscal), also known as NIE (Número de Identificación Extranjero) in order to sign the property deeds and deal with all of the taxes. It will also be convenient to have a bank account in Spain, in order to facilitate the creation of banker’s drafts for the day of the signing of the property deeds as well as to set-up direct debits for utility charges.  Both the NIF and bank account can be arranged by your lawyer.
    3. Once you have identified the property that you are interested in, either via an estate agent or privately, we would advise that you never sign anything until your independent lawyer has reviewed the property and ensured that there are no debts or charges associated with the property. While such checks take only a matter of a couple of days, it is always best to avoid problems than solve them./p>
    4. When the property has been checked and cleared of any debts or charges etc, it is typical to sign a ‘private purchase contract’ whereupon a deposit is paid, often around 10% of the value of the property. In said contract, the price of the property and other conditions of sale are fixed.An important difference between a formal private purchase contract drafted by your lawyer and, say, a simple reservation contract, is that the former gives you specific rights of performance of the contract, such that typically, if the vendor fails to go through with the sale according to the terms of the contract, you the purchaser are entitled to receive DOUBLE the amount you have paid as deposit from the vendor, as compensation.
    5. Within a period of time, typically between 15 days and 3 months from the date that the private purchase contract was signed, if all is correct and safe to proceed, it is time to sign the public deeds of purchase before a Public Notary.  The costs associated with a purchase of property here in the Valencia region are usually around 13% – 14% of the value of the property, bearing in mind that here there is a property sales tax of 10% (see: Spanish Property Sales Tax Rates by Region) and then you will need to consider notary charges and land registry costs.There will in addition very possibly be estate agents costs associated with the purchase (most likely included in the top-line price of the property). Lawyers fees will be as agreed prior to the purchase and tend to vary according to the complexity of the conveyance (whether option contracts are required. charges and encumbrances attached to the property that need to be dealt with etc).
    6. There are no further costs for the purchaser to deal with, though it may be recommended that the purchaser pays the local ‘plus valias’ tax on behalf of the vendor (with a consequent reduction in the purchase price). This is a tax that is payable to the local town hall and is similar to a capital gains tax.While it is payable by the vendor, for obvious reasons, if the vendor fails to pay it, and is in fact a non-resident with no plans to return to Spain, the local Town Hall may revert to the new owner for payment. Therefore, to ensure that there are no nasty surprises in the future, it is recommended to agree to pay this tax on behalf of the vendor, with this value deducted from the purchase price, especially if the vendor is non-resident.
On the day of the signing of the purchase deeds, the remaining balance of the purchase monies (once the deposit amount has been deducted, as well as any taxes payable on behalf of the vendor) are paid. At the same time the vendor will hand over the keys, copy of utility bills, with the registration of the new title taking place some time later (usually no more than 2 – 3 months maximum) in the local Land Registry.

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Property Purchase

Available in the following locations: Alcoy, Alicante, Barcelona, Benidorm, Cadiz, Castellon, Córdoba, El Campello, Estepona, Fuengirola, Gandia, Girona, Granada, Jaen, L`Eliana, La Manga del Mar Menor, Las Palmas, Los Alcázares, Los Cristianos, Madrid, Malaga, Marbella, Maspalomas, Mazarron, Murcia, Nerja, Orihuela Costa, Oviedo, Palma de Mallorca, Puerto del Rosario, Puzol, Seville, Torrevieja, Valencia, Velez Malaga, Vera, Vigo, Zaragoza.

* If your local town is not listed, a lawyer from our nearest office will be happy to assist you.


1Who is this Service for?

Buying property abroad is a very popular activity but can be fraught with dangers.

Given that the purchase of a property is one of the most important investments that most people will make in their lifetime, it is crucial to be advised by an independent expert.

2What does this service consist of?

  • Review of the purchase contract.
  • Management of negotiations and counter-offers.
  • Verification that the seller is able to pass good title.
  • Registry search to ensure property free of any charges or other mortgages.
  • Ensure outstanding taxes on the property are up-to-date before transfer.
  • Make sure that all items included in the sale (fixtures and fittings etc.).
  • Attendance and assistance when signing the deeds of the property.
  • Management of negotiations and counter-offers
  • In depth information about schools, sports clubs, shops, cultural organisations, etc.
  • Payment of stamp duty.
Support services

3Free Support Services Included

When combined with the free and innovative Advocate Abroad support services you can be sure that you are obtaining completely transparent legal services from registered and regulated English-speaking lawyers abroad.These support services include:

  • Verification of the regulatory status of your professional.
  • Fees as recommended by the Local Professional Body
  • Fees specified in advance and legally guaranteed.
  • Service levels agreed in advance and guaranteed.
  • All professionals must hold professional indemnity insurance.
  • Professionals' proficiency in English monitored.
  • Continuous quality controls and reviews.

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